Sep 25, 2013, 11:12 AM EDT
Most pundits (myself included) expect a big drop off in Denver this year. Gone is the glue of Andre Iguodala to hold the defense together, gone is the veteran coach George Karl (replaced by the capable but untested Brian Shaw), and they are without Danilo Gallinari, who is key to their offense. It was obvious how much Gallinari mattered to the Nuggets offense during the playoffs.
If Denver is getting back to the postseason, they need Gallinari. He has spent his summer rehabbing his knee in Italy (because if you can choose any place on the planet to rehab, why not Italy?) trying to get right and return to Denver.
So when do they get him back? Probably around Thanksgiving, Gallinari told Sportando.
“I’m very happy with how things are going even if the path is still long. It ‘been a summer of hard work. Eight hours a day. You see the ball just in picture and the time never passes. But I can see the results of the hard work and according to the doctors I should be ready for the end of November.”
The Nuggets are likely to end up in a struggle with the Timberwolves, Trail Blazers, Lakers, Mavericks and even Pelicans (don’t sell them short) for one of the final couple playoff spots in the West. They can’t start slow and dig themselves out of a hole this season.
So if they get him back around Thanksgiving, meaning he is there for most of the NBA season, Denver’s chances improve.
Gallinari also said if healthy he plans to play for Italy in the World Championships next summer. That is, if FIBA grants a wild card berth to Italy, which finished eighth and without an automatic bid at EuroBasket. Good chance they get one of FIBA’s four wild cards (expect China and Brazil to get them, too), but nothing is a lock.
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